From the moment they met each other in 1984 during the first week of freshmen year at Bishop O'Dowd High School, Patrick Scalise knew he and Chad Newhouse were going to be best friends for life.
"He was, as we say in Oakland, 'hella cool,'" says Patrick. "He was one of a kind: stubborn, handsome, eccentric, a perfectionist, loving, sensitive, funny – he was the wittiest person I ever met in my life - and stoic. Maybe too stoic, as it turned out."
They shared a deep love of sports and heavy metal music, and you never met two bigger Raiders and A's fans in your life.
Their friendship continued through college and life in the adult world. When they weren't playing together in an AC/DC cover band, they were keeping in touch every day through phone calls and emails.
But a few years ago Chad started to withdraw into himself, and months would go by before Patrick heard from him.
"He was so dark and isolated. That's one of the signs of depression, but I didn't know it. I'll never live that down."
Then, in the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 2012, Patrick got a phone call from Chad's father. Chad had taken his own life.
Patrick was devastated, and he (wrongly) blamed himself.
"I keep asking 'What if?' You look at this situation and say, 'This guy needs serious help.' But you don't realize that you might have to intervene physically. You don't think it will come to that."
In despair, he traveled to L.A., where he and Chad had many mutual friends, and they drowned their sorrows in hours and hours of playing the music Chad loved.
"Then one our friends said, 'How rad would it be if we created a Raider Nation rock band and played a concert in Chad's honor?'"
They formed an all-star band called The Plunketts, and Patrick created a non-profit called the Chad Newhouse Foundation to promote suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
"It went from friends trying to heal through music to this silly name to something extremely serious that gives us a purpose."
The first annual Plunkett Fest, a benefit for the Chad Newhouse Foundation, will be held Oct. 18 at the Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, featuring The Plunkets, The Butlers, and Feather Witch.
Former Raiders Cliff Branch and George Beuhler will be there, along with some of the Raiderettes. Tickets are available on Ticket Web or at the door. All proceeds will be donated to San Francisco Suicide Prevention.
And if you can't make the show, you can still send a check to the Chad Newhouse Foundation, 1308 63rd Street, Suite P, Emeryville 94608.
"Suicide is such a taboo subject," says Patrick, who still misses his friend every day. "Look how far we've come with AIDS. We got over that B.S. We have to do the same thing with mental health."
If you are having suicidal thoughts yourself, call the National Suicide Hotline ASAP at 1-800-273-8255. It's open 24/7, and the person on the other end will be someone who's been there, too.
And if you know someone who is wrestling with suicidal thoughts, please don't assume they won't act on it. They will, if nobody intervenes.
"My best friend committed suicide," says Patrick. "It could happen to you, too."